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Creative Expression, Purpose Keys To Healing One Year After Boston Marathon Bombings

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Art work in progress. (Credit/FAH)

Art work in progress. (Credit/FAH)

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DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – One year after the bombings at the Boston Marathon, physical injuries have healed for some survivors, but the psychological healing is ongoing.

Dr. Jeremy Nobel, who is on the faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health, and founder of the Foundation for Art & Healing in Boston, says creative expression can be a powerful healing tool.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as school children drawing pictures to capture their anxieties and their concerns that allows them to move past them, ” said Nobel. “Sometimes it’s people using music, to write stories and songs about traumatic events, visual art, arts of all kinds.”

He notes that part of healing and part of recovery is healing from that disruption.

“The Boston Marathon bombing, last year, really was a major blow to many peoples’ sense of security, their sense of the order in day to day lives,” said Nobel. A big part of recovery from that kind of a traumatic event is the coming back to a sense of balance, and confidence and a sense of security in your daily life.

” … the marathon bombings, similar to the World Trade Center bombings, actually brought out a lot of creative expression from individuals, who then use creative expression as a way to heal – much of that has been shared.”

University of Michigan professor Vic Strecher says that the resilience to triumph in spite of tragedy requires survivors to dig deep for a sense of purpose. Strecher lost his teenage daughter, Julia, to a rare heart condition in 2010.

On Purpose by Vic Strecher.

On Purpose by Vic Strecher.

“I think what I saw in the Boston bombing as well as with my own daughter’s passing was a breaking open of the ego,” said Strecher, “they started seeing themselves more clearly, they went back introspectively and said ‘who are we’ and I think it helped define who they were. They started seeing things more clearly.”

On Purpose traces Vic’s path toward fully reengaging with life while documenting for himself–and anyone who reads this book–the transformative power of purpose.

There are more inspiring responses to the Boston Marathon bombings  [HERE] and check out the exhibit at the  Boston Public Library entitled “Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial.”

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